CCTV lighting has never been as important as it is today. With the growth of HD SDI CCTV and mega pixel IP cameras it is a well know fact that these cameras perform much worse in low light conditions than traditional analogue cameras. In the past CCTV lighting has been traditionally done using either IR bulbs or halogen lighting. This type of lighting is expensive, with halogen in particular it is now widely accepted across the industry that this polluting, inefficient lighting method is being rigorously phased out. New more efficient CCTV lighting in the form of IR and white light illuminators are now available and as LED technology gets better and better these lights are definitely the way forward.
If you want good colour images at night then the white light illuminator is what you should chose. You can expect the CCTV lighting illuminator to produce around 2700 lumens and be IP67 rated. The best thing about led lighting though is reliability. A life of 10 years or more is expected.
So why do we need lighting with cameras? CCTV lighting has always been a subject that gets overlooked but most crime occurs during the hours of darkness and we know all cameras need at least some light to produce an image. It is however the case that background lighting such as street light or even moonlight will not be enough for mega pixel cameras or HD SDI CCTV. It is also the case that good lighting will save space on your hard drive as background interference often increases the memory consumed on your hard drive. So better CCTV lighting reduces storage costs.
So what is the price of an illuminator compared to a halogen? Well right now price wise there is no comparison. While a 500 watt halogen can be purchased for as little as £5 an illuminator that is going to give the same sort of light spread will be well over £170 and very often more. This is hampering the change over of CCTV lighting from old to new technology. However the end user must be educated in the the TCO of an illunminator and the benefits of upgrading his CCTV lighting. While a halogen light might do you for a year without burning out , it wont last too much longer on average. Then it will draw 5 times more energy, this can be costly when having to pay the electricity bill. You must also consider access to the light for maintenance, a cherry picker these days is going to set you back at least £250 for the day so that halogen is far more expensive than you think. Finally if you are upgrading to HD SDI CCTV or a mega pixel IP camera then the extra money you have paid for quality images will be wasted as night time recordings will be disappointing.
So who are the main players well Iluminar and Sirius are popular brands and rival Raytec on price. All these CCTV lighting solutions are trusted brands and have a build quality that will ensure longevity in the field. It must also be noted that CCTV lighting can only become cheaper as led technology improves and more demand means more choice and competition.
So for crisp clear colour images from your HD SDI CCTV system at night go green with a white light illuminator and the sensible way forward for CCTV lighting.